Praise him with the tambourine and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Timbrel and dance.—See Psalm 149:3.
Stringed instruments.—Minnîm. Literally, parts, so threads, so here, as in LXX. and Vulg., “with” or “on strings.” (See Note, Psalm 45:9.)
Organs.—Heb., ‘ugab, which has been variously identified with the syrinx, or Pan’s pipes, of the Greeks, with the “bagpipe,” and even with a rude instrument embodying the principle of the modern organ. (See Bible Educator, 2:70, 183, 229.)Isaiah 5:12. It is rendered tabret and tabrets in Genesis 31:27; 1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Samuel 18:6; Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 24:8; Isaiah 30:32; Jeremiah 31:4; Ezekiel 28:13; timbrel and timbrels in Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34; 2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Chronicles 13:8; Job 21:12; Psalm 81:2; Psalm 149:3; and in the margin in Jeremiah 31:4. The word does not occur elsewhere. It was an instrument that was struck with the hands.
Praise him with stringed instruments - מנים minniym. This word means strings, from a verb which means to divide; and the proper reference would be to slender threads, as if they were divided, or made small. It is nowhere else applied to instruments of music, but might be properly applied to a harp, a violin, a bass-viol, etc. The word strings is indeed applied elsewhere to instruments of music Psalm 33:2; Psalm 144:9; 1 Samuel 18:16; Isaiah 38:20; Habakkuk 3:19, but the Hebrew word is different. Such instruments were commonly used in the praise of God. See the notes at Psalm 33:2.
And organs - Hebrew, עוגב ‛ûgâb. See this word explained in the notes at Job 21:12. It occurs elsewhere only in Genesis 4:21; Job 21:12; Job 30:31; in all of which places it is rendered organ. The word is derived from a verb meaning to breathe, to blow; and would be applicable to any wind-instrument. It here represents the whole class of wind-instruments. The word organ is a Greek word, and is found in the Septuagint in this place; and hence, our word organ has been introduced into the translation. The Greek word properly denotes
(a) something by which work is accomplished, as a machine;
(b) a musical instrument;
(c) the material from which anything is made;
(d) the work itself. (Passow, Lexicon).
Our word organ, as used in music, suggests the idea of a combination of instruments or sounds. That idea is not found in the Hebrew word. It denotes merely a wind-instrument. Neither the Hebrews nor any of the ancient nations had an instrument that corresponded with the organ as we now use the term.Psalm 149:3;
praise him with stringed instruments; or divers "kinds" (w) of instruments not named, as R. Saadiah Gaon; and which, as Aben Ezra says, had all one sound or note; what they were is not known, as also many of them that are particularly mentioned;
and organs; which have their name from the loveliness of their sound; these are of ancient original and use, Genesis 4:21; but were not of the same kind with those now in use, which are of much later invention.Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. with the timbrel and dance] See on Psalm 149:3. The P.B.V. cymbals seems to be a slip of Coverdale’s, which was not corrected in the Great Bible, as he renders tôph correctly by tabret, i.e. a small drum, in Psalm 149:3.
with stringed instruments and pipes] The word minnîm, ‘stringed instruments,’ occurs in Psalm 45:8 (R.V.): the ugâbh, mentioned in Genesis 4:21; Job 21:12; Job 30:31, was probably the syrinx or Pan’s-pipes, a wind instrument consisting of a collection of reeds or pipes. See Stainer, Music of the Bible, Ch. vi. The two terms may include string and wind instruments generally, as “harp and pipe” in Genesis 4:21; and as the words are not elsewhere used in connexion with religious ceremonies, they may be meant to suggest that all instruments, secular as well as sacred, should be enlisted in this service of praise. The A.V. organs follows the LXX and Vulg.Verse 4. - Praise him with the timbrel and dance (comp. Psalm 149:3). Praise him with stringed instruments and organs; literally, with strings and pipe. "Organs" are, of course, out of the question. The "pipe" intended is probably the double pipe so often represented on the monuments of Egypt, Assyria, and Phoenicia. Psalm 56:1-13 :17), and as servants of this God, the rightful Lord of all the heathen (Psalm 82:8), they hold in their hand a many-mouthed, i.e., many edged sword (vid., supra, p. 580), in order to take the field on behalf of the true religion, as the Maccabees actually did, not long after: ταῖς μὲν χερσὶν ἀγωνιζόμενοι ταῖς δὲ καρδίαις πρὸς τὸν Θεόν εὐχόμενοι (2 Macc. 15:27). The meaning of Psalm 149:9 becomes a different one, according as we take this line as co-ordinate or subordinate to what goes before. Subordinated, it would imply the execution of a penal jurisdiction over those whom they carried away, and כּתוּב would refer to prescriptive facts such as are recorded in Numbers 31:8; 1 Samuel 15:32. (Hitzig). But it would become the religious lyric poet least of all to entertain such an unconditional prospect of the execution of the conquered worldly rulers. There is just as little ground for thinking of the judgment of extermination pronounced upon the nations of Canaan, which was pronounced upon them for an especial reason. If Psalm 149:9 is taken as co-ordinate, the "written judgment" (Recht) consists in the complete carrying out of the subjugation; and this is commended by the perfectly valid parallel, Isaiah 45:14. The poet, however, in connection with the expression "written," has neither this nor that passage of Scripture in his mind, but the testimony of the Law and of prophecy in general, that all kingdoms shall become God's and His Christ's. Subjugation (and certainly not without bloodshed) is the scriptural משׁפּט for the execution of which Jahve makes use of His own nation. Because the God who thus vindicates Himself is Israel's God, this subjugation of the world is הדר, splendour and glory, to all who are in love devoted to Him. The glorifying of Jahve is also the glorifying of Israel.
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